Periwinkle location offered as site for Sanibel Dog Park
A meeting was held on Tuesday night at the Sanibel Community House to discuss a proposed site for a leash-free dog park on the island. The meeting was organized by officers of the Sanibel Dog Club, Inc. and the Sanibel Dog Park Foundation, Inc. It was open to both members and non-members.
A formal presentation was made that reviewed how the Dog Club was originally formed in 2007 and has worked since that time to find a place and approval for a leash-free dog park. Last year, a referendum vote was held to approve a park on Island Inn Road. That vote was defeated by a narrow margin of just one percent due to concern for the property being environmentally sensitive.
Since that time, Club President, Dr. Harvey Sugerman, and Club Treasurer, Jason LaManna, have spent many hours working with various city officials, environmental representatives and city employees to identify a spot that would be suitable for all concerned.
During the Jan. 5 meeting, Dr. Sugerman told the 102 attendees of the potential use of city park as the site for the dog park. The site is adjacent to the Sanibel Community House, has a new playground, ample parking and enough space to house a park for both large and small dogs. This site is seldom used by residents and was used only once in 2009 for the Fourth of July movie event.
Other parks, such as the rebuilt Gulfside Park, would provide plenty of space should community events – such as Taste of the Islands – be brought back. The Sanibel School’s soccer field could be used to hold the July 4th movie presentation.
Dr. Sugerman sought input from the attendees, which was overwhelmingly positive for the site, and suggested the following plan going forward:
He and LaManna will communicate the plan to City Manager Judith Zimomra as soon as possible.
Members will begin a petition drive to demonstrate that a majority of Sanibel voters would approve of the park in this location.
An open meeting for all of the citizens of Sanibel will be held to discuss the proposal.
Once the petitions have been secured, the Sanibel Dog Club, Inc. will request a formal review at an upcoming City Council meeting and seek approval for development of the park, with all development and additional maintenance costs to be borne by Sanibel Dog Park Foundation, Inc.
In addition, Dr. Sugerman pointed out that development of the park would include proper decorative fencing and separate gated entrances for both large and small dogs, as well as additional fencing for the playground area. This plan reduces the current the risk of children running into the shared use path or onto Periwinkle Way. He further stated that the park would not be a replacement for walking leashed dogs on the beach.
“It will instead provide an outlet for those dogs and their owners to reduce the use of the beach and other public areas for running dogs off leash and help mitigate fecal waste on the island,” he added.
For additional information about the Sanibel Dog Club, call Dr. Sugerman at 472-4625.